Ag briefs: National checkoff won't be collected on dumped milk

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


National checkoff won't be collected on dumped milk

The USDA has confirmed that the .05/cwt that the national checkoff won't be collected on milk dumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The checkoff monies are earmarked for dairy research and promotion efforts. 

According to Farm Journal's MILK, whether the remaining .10/cwt assessed for state and regional programs is collected depends on individual state law.

A USDA spokesperson said milk that is dumped and not marketed commercially would not be required to pay the federal assessment. However, in states with mandatory assessment laws, the producer may still be responsible for the remaining assessment.


Online Championship Cheese Auction raises $93K

Dairy industry suppliers, marketers and processors joined the first-ever online Championship Cheese Auction Friday, April 24 and raised more than $93,000 to support the Championship Cheese Contests, scholarship programs and educational workshops of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA).

WCMA Executive Director Johm Umhoefer said the group wanted to retain the tribute to great cheesemaking despite the delay of the annual CheeseExpo.

Through the years, annual Championship Cheese Auctions have provided crucial support to the U.S. and World Championship Cheese Contests, funds for WCMA student scholarships, and subsidized WCMA’s supervisor and manager training programs.

 Auction funds have allowed WCMA to support the construction of the new Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the new dairy pilot plant at UW River Falls and the Davis Dairy Plant at South Dakota State University.


Fire destroys milk house 

A milk house at N4046 Cty Rd. D in the Township of Oakfield is a complete loss after a fire on April 23. The owner reported the fire on April 23, which was believed to have been started by an outdoor wood burning stove.

The 15x30 foot milk house was attached to a barn and fully engulfed in flames when deputies from the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office arrived.  Firefighters from three local fire departments responded to the scene and quickly extinguished the fire before it could spread to the barn. 

The milk house contained milking equipment which was destroyed in the fire. No livestock where injured. 


Culver's Scoops of Thanks postponed

Officials from Culver's restaurant have announced that the annual Scoops of Thanks Day has been postponed indefinitely.

During National FFA Week, Culver’s had planned to debut a special Thank You Farmers Project Fresh Frozen Custard Flavor of the Day on May 7, 2020. However, the inaugural event – Scoops of Thanks Day – is canceled due to COVID-19.

The company says it looks forward to future Thank You Farmers Project fundraisers that benefit FFA chapters and support agricultural education. 


Vita Plus commits $100K to support producers, rural communities

Vita Plus is committed to serving dairy and livestock farms and rural communities across the Upper Midwest during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent dairy and livestock market challenges. 

As part of this commitment, Vita Plus announces the launch of the Serving Customers & Rural Communities Project and will contribute $100,000 to support food security initiatives in rural communities.

Local Vita Plus nutrition consultants and facilities are working with rural food pantries, schools, and other food assistance programs by contributing dairy, beef, and pork products to help fill their needs.


Coordination center to assist producers 

The USDA and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have announced the establishment of a National Incident Coordination Center to provide direct support to producers whose animals cannot move to market as a result of processing plant closures.

APHIS is also mobilizing the National Veterinary Stockpile and will deploy assets as needed and secure the services of contractors that can supply additional equipment, personnel and services, according to a news release. 

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide state-level technical assistance to producers and will provide cost-share assistance under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in line with program guidelines for disposal.


Official: Firm 'devastated' by fire at large Ohio egg farm

Authorities say a fast-moving fire on April 21 at a large egg farm in Ohio destroyed one large building and also killed hens in other buildings.

Chief Mike Richardson of the Hartford Volunteer Fire Department told the Newark Advocate that the flames destroyed one building that was about 300 feet long and damaged another. He said all chickens were lost in one building and some chickens were lost in two other buildings due to exposure.

No injuries were reported to employees or firefighters, the Associated Press reported. 


Ag in the Classroom program cancellations

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions associated with it, Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom is canceling most summer training events.

Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Darlene Arneson says the organization hopes to offer similar programming in the future when restrictions have been lifted.

Event cancellations and updates include: One-day trainings scheduled on July 9 in Oshkosh, August 14 in Oconto Falls and August 18 in New Richmond; summer bus tour in Green County postponed to 2021. The Back-to-School Kick-Off meeting at the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center on August 22 is still scheduled to take place.

The deadline to apply for the MORE Grant has been extended until May 10. The training associated with these grants will be determined at a later date.


Isolation housing for packer employees sought

In an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus in meat packing plants, Kansas authorities are considering making housing at junior colleges and other facilities available to packing plant employees.

Matt Teagarden of the Kansas Livestock Association told Farm Journal Live that the industry is working with state government leaders to identify housing, both to isolate infected workers and to offer protected housing and food for packing plant line workers who are not infected and who are needed to keep food lines running.

The housing effort is part of a comprehensive plan to slow the spread which includes expanded testing at packing plants, Kansas Agriculture Secretary Mike Beam told Chip Flory on the AgriTalk Radio Show.


Corn growers hail ethanol legislation

The National Corn Growers Association is hailing a newly introduced bipartisan bill, the Clean Fuels Deployment Act of 2020, that will incentivize the deployment of fueling infrastructure for ethanol blends greater than 10 percent and biodiesel blends greater than 20 percent.

The bill authorizes $500 million over five years to help retailers offer higher ethanol blends, expand the geographic area selling ethanol blends, support biodiesel fuel markets, and accelerate the deployment of fueling infrastructure.

The legislation will work alongside the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to accelerate growth and open new economic opportunities for American farmers and biofuel producers, according to the NCGA.

A vital market for corn farmers, ethanol producers have idled nearly half of their production capacity due to the fallout from COVID-19.


Mink with coronavirus on two Dutch farms

Carola Schouten, the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, announced the first confirmed cases after mink on two fur farms tested positive for the virus. The farms have since been put into quarantine.

As a precaution, people have been advised not to walk or ride a bike within 400 meters of the two farms.

According to a news release, the mink, which were tested after displaying signs of respiratory distress, were tested for the virus. Netherlands officials say the animals contracted the illness from farm workers that had shown symptoms of the virus.

Although the risk of animal-to-human infection is low, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment cautioned those working in the mink farming industry to "be careful".


PDPW Launches La Señal Lechera™

Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin has launched a free, on-demand version of The Dairy Signal™, delivered in Spanish. La Señal Lechera will offer translated insights and resources on business, market, finance, and animal care and nutrition, which previously aired on The Dairy Signal, said PDPW executive director Shelly Mayer.

Translated and recorded by students from Viterbo University, content on La Señal Lechera will be available on-demand weekly. No registration fee is necessary, and all episodes will be available at For more information, call 800-947-7379 or emai